Jaffe: Manfred’s investigation into Astros’ sign-stealing has ended, but the bangs keep coming

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on February 13, 2020:

“It feels like there’s still no closure and everything has been thrown into question — past outcomes are being second-guessed and even future games will be cast in doubt. There can be no redemption arc after an institutionalized scandal like this until there’s some accountability.” — Sean Doolittle, Nationals reliever

Sean Doolittle speaks for all of us. Four weeks after Commissioner Rob Manfred issued his report on the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing efforts and suspended both president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the 2020 season, new revelations about the scheme continue to emerge, some of which challenge his findings or call his judgment into question. So long as such information keeps coming to light, Major League Baseball can’t make this scandal — or the justifiable outrage from players within the game and fans outside of it — go away. Not even a leaked report about a cockamamie 14-team playoff format will deflect attention from Houston’s various schemes.

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal‘s Jared Diamond reported on an effort by the Astros’ baseball operations department to decode opponents’ signs and relay that information to hitters in real time, one that preceded the trash can banging scheme and that general manager Jeff Luhnow had awareness of, though it went unmentioned in the commissioner’s report. Later that day, MLB Network aired an exclusive interview with A.J. Hinch, one in which the Astros’ former manager expressed regret over his own role in failing to stop his players from participating in the sign-stealing scheme but gave a carefully parsed answer when it came to the possible use of wearable buzzers. On Monday, pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who retired just one of eight Astros hitters he faced in his final major league appearance on August 4, 2017, filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, “accusing the Astros of unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations,” according to USA Today’s Nancy Armour.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/manfreds-investigation-into-astros-sign-stealing-has-ended-but-the-bangs-keep-coming/

Originally published: February 13, 2020. Last Updated: February 13, 2020.